The Smoke that Thunders: Victoria Falls


Victoria Falls and final destination of our Intrepid Okavango Experience trip. The Victoria Falls are located on the Zambezi River at the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. In a similar way to the Iguazu Falls, the actual falls are on the Zambia side (like Argentina) offering an interactive falls experience, whereas the scenic overviews are on the Zimbabwean side (like Brazil). For the record our campsite was based in Zimbabwe.

The indigenous name of the falls is Mosi-oa-Tunya which means ‘the Smoke that Thunders’. They were given the Victoria Falls name by the Scottish explorer David Livingstone who named them after Queen Victoria when he discovered them in 1855. Livingstone is thought to have been the first European to see them.

Having departed from Chobe National Park at around 07:45 we crossed the border from Botswana into Zimbabwe and had arrived at the Victoria Falls in mid morning. Jay, our Intrepid guide, took us to an excursion shop where we could choose and book a number of activities which included zip lining, white-water rafting, a helicopter flight or a gorge swing!

From the excursion shop we drive to our final campsite. For our last night and in anticipation of a good nights’ rest before our 24 hour, 3 x flights home the following day, Zoe and I paid US$15 each to upgrade to a chalet. Once everyone (else…) had set their tents up, our driver Ernest took us all a mile or so down the road to our lunch venue. As a group, and following a suggestion from Jay, we agreed to have lunch in the scenic Lookout Cafe which offered spectacular views of the Batoka Gorge, a short distance from the Falls.

Elephant alert

Elephant in the way! Having dropped us off in a nearby car park we had to walk for 150 meters to the cafe. We were stopped in our tracks by Ernest and Raynard who had spotted an elephant in our path directly ahead! It wasn’t safe to walk past the elephant which is after all a wild animal so we had to detour off the beaten track and skirt around it. Such issues we don’t usually have to face when going about our day to day business in the UK!

Off the beaten track to avoid an elephant close encounter
Checking out the menu’s at the Lookout Cafe
Lunch with a view

Following a delicious lunch, Ernest drove the truck to collect us from the restaurant entrance in order to avoid an elephant encounter! Now it was time for the main event of the day…

Visiting the Victoria Falls


The entrance fee to this UNESCO heritage site was included in the overall cost of our Intrepid tour. From the entrance you walk along a well maintained pathway which has around 15 designated viewing points.


June to August is the dry season so if you want to see the Falls in their full roaring and thundering splendour you may prefer to visit during February to May. However, for a combined Botswana safari trip, Go2Africa suggests this may not be the optimum time to visit.


Although I went armed with our Go-Pro in anticipation of getting wet, this didn’t really happen… other than spray from the falls we stayed fairly dry. In the wet season it might be advisable to wear a waterproof mac (which can be purchased from the gift shop) if you don’t want to get soaked!


We had arrived at the visitor centre at 3 pm so were fortunate to see the Falls in a warm orangey glow.

Another visitor at the Falls

Below is a small selection of video clips to finish off this post…















Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s